You know, I went back and played the game recently. I started to wonder if Gamefreak was just trying to make Pokemon more realistic. Since, if pokemon were real, they would be slaves... or if Gamefreak just wanted to make something dark. Either way, they sure scared me as a child...
@The Atheist: you're sounding like an overzealous fundamentalist. thanks for making atheism less cool :/
Back on topic, I think that Nintendo had much less control over RBY than they do the later generations; this is probably wrong, but I thought that the first games were already somewhat completed when picked up by Nintendo. Confirm, anyone?
Wow I never noticed all that. RBY was pretty evil :o
PS: Talking about religion below this line warrants a large infraction
Yeah, RBY was pretty dark. But, if you ask me, manga was even more "evil"... In it, the whole E4 and 3 gym leaders were freaking villains... there were "zombie" pokemon in the lost tower, and Koga's arbok got cut in half once...
It seems that in D/P, pokemon managed to get cheerier and darker at the same time. On one hand, there' spiritomb, the pokemon that was sealed away into the odd keystone, sendoff springs, where the spirits of dead pokemon are supposed to go, and that tower by solaceon town, where you see a lot of tombstones and a couple of people mourning for their lost pokemon. (The lost tower seems to be a recurring element: there's the tower in Lavender city, there's probably some other tower in GSC, that mountain in the middle of route 122 where you get the orbs for RSE). On the other hand there's the random internet humor, the swimmers and lasses ranting about their bikinis and miniskirts, and the famous engrish line
"Regigigas can't get it going because of its slow start!"
Also, I'd have to agree that the manga is seriously dark.
(If you don't want manga spoilers, don't read the rest of this post)
Not sure about any of the D/P issues or the Battle Frontier volumes (serebii hasn't updated its manga section, and all that wikipedia's telling me is that Diamond and Pearl are two guys, acting as a comedy team and bodyguards for the female character), but I've read that team rocket fused together a flareon, vaporeon, and jolteon at one point, and the three legendary birds at another point (and you thought Mewtwo was bad?). Ruby and Sapphire almost get killed by mightyena and a seviper at the beginning of their series, and at the end of the FR/LG saga, Red, Blue, Yellow, Green and Silver get turned to stone after Mewtwo tries to keep Storc from capturing Deoxys. There's probably a lot that I missed along the line, but I'm reasonably certain that this, combined with what mastadi said, nominates the manga for "Darkest part of Pokemon."
The RBY pokemon world is significantly darker than subsequent games and FAR darker than the anime. And all the games have pokedex entries that hint towards something significantly darker than what appears on the surface of the world.
I actually loved the darker RBY sprites. It kind of gave me the impression of what the creatures really wanted the game to be like before it's popularity and all the kid age based advertising.
btw, this gives more of a message at the end anyways. Professor Oak still says that you won because you loved your pokemon instead of treating them like slaves (which is why everybody else fails at beating you).
May I notice that the Anime also got more and more bright as time progressed? People may say that the Anime was all happy but lets just compare Gen 1 Gym Leaders to Gen 3. First impressions only.
Brock vs. Roxanne.
Brock was a rough tough guy when Ash first got against him. Having a somewhat crappy past to boot, Brock wasn't exactly the most super happy trainer ever. Roxanne, on the other hand, being a teacher, was a very kind and friendly trainer. Case closed here.
Misty vs. Brawly.
Here's an exception as Misty was already introduced earlier on. Not much to compare.
Lt. Surge vs. Wattson
Surge was a bastard. Having no problems into sending a lot of pokemon straight into hospital, taunting and bullying younger opponents AND hitting on Misty. He was just a tough bastard - until Ash beat him. Wattson was a joke, a laugh, and a friendly ol' chubby. Case closed.
Sabrina vs. Flannery
Ooooh boy, do I really need to remind you how f*cked up Sabrina was? Turning people (including her own MOTHER) into dolls, keeping them captured in a mini city nearly crushing them...can you say dark? Flannery, on the other hand, was a friendly young inexperienced trainer, who kept smiling. Difference much? (Side note: Flannery was a lot tougher on the outside in the game)
Erika vs. Norman
The thing about Erika is that she's a bitch, prohibiting people from entering her gym. Not much of a dark person per se, but she does have a not so friendly side. Norman, on the other hand...yeah...right.
Koga vs. Winona
Koga is perhaps the least notable gym leader in Kanto, being about the only one who Ash beat fair and square in a normal fight. He's not half as dark as the others despite being a ninja. Winona....yeah. Kinda like with Brawly and Misty, there isn't much to say.
Blaine vs. Tate n Liza
Blaine was a broken man who had lost a lot due to all the tourist. But most importantly; he had no problem into commanding his creature made of pure fire to launch a blast of fire at a cute little mouse to send said mouse STRAIGHT INTO A VOLCANO. You see Tate n Liza doing that? No? Me neither.
Giovanni/Team Rocket vs. Juan
We all know Giovanni, to whom insurance money is more important as human lives. Juan is an artist, a preformer, and as such not a dark character either.
See the huge difference? It started in Johto already, with Pryce being the only bitter/dark person among the other gym leaders. Pokemon got bright.